Overheard in Orlando: Animal lovers

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The story of Nina Simone (the rescue cat, not the jazz singer)
Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and her rescue cat Nina Simone appear in a video on YouTube to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Paws in the Park, a festival to benefit the SPCA of Central Florida. The event, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 at Lake Eola Park, begins with a benefit walk. Pet vendors will surround the lake, Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell will make an appearance at the Disney Amphitheater and Splash Dogs will provide entertainment with their dock diving competition. The Dogs of Anarchy will host a flyball competition. Have your dog microchipped for $10 thanks to 24PetWatch. For more information, visit OrlandoPets.org/PawsinthePark. To hear the story of Nina Simone, go to YouTube.com/user/SPCAF.

Speak now or forever hold your peace
When Leslie Chambers had doubts about whether she should marry her once-gay boyfriend Alan Chambers on their wedding day, she asked God for guidance. Chambers, who penned a blog post recently about the experience, said she asked God to interfere with the 1998 nuptials if she had somehow missed the mark. “Because the day proceeded with only minor hiccups (like our hired Roles Royce not showing up to take us from the church to the reception and a lit candle flying out of a candelabra), I married Alan and have never doubted whether it was the right thing to do. I trusted God and my relationship with God,” Chambers wrote. Alan Chambers, with whom she now has two children, is the founder of Exodus International, an organization that tried to straighten out hundreds of gay men with religion and guilt. Last summer, Alan Chambers dismantled Exodus and apologized, admitting that he hurt people with his reparative therapy. Though he believes gay sex is a sin, he has said that a person’s choice of sex partner in a personal one. Though Chambers said he still struggles with same-sex attraction, he loves his wife and is committed to her and their marriage. The couple celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2013.

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